Welcome to the Patchwork Blog! I hope you enjoy reading my random thoughts about life, Jesus and the freedom he offers.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Brown paper packages tied up with string

This post first appeared on More Than Writers the blog of the Association of Christian Writers, on September 16th 2016. 

The  Lord has been speaking to me about resting in Him over the last few months. Resting in God is something I know about in theory but am very poor at doing in practise. In practise resting in God means letting go of things. But I frequently don't want to let go of these things.
Now the rest of God is not a rest from work—it’s a rest in work. It’s partnering with God to do what He is calling you to do by His grace, and leaving the part you can’t do in His hands, trusting Him to do it.
  Joyce Meyer

Photo - Kate Ter Haar 
I remember going on a retreat to a convent many years ago. There was a nun leading some of the sessions. I don't remember her name but I do remember her talking about leaving things with God. She spoke about imagining that we had wrapped up our problems in brown paper packages (Are you now singing 'My Favourite Things' from The Sound of Music to yourself? I was when I wrote this). She told us to imagine ourselves leaving our brown paper packages at the foot of the cross with Jesus. 
I am quite a visual person so I found this helpful. I even manage to take her advice sometimes. I leave my parcels at the foot of the cross, neat parcels of brown paper tied up with string, 'To God, Love Lynda xxx' written on the front. So far so good, you may be thinking. But, my problem is leaving them there. I go back to the parcels and start opening them again. I try to peep under the paper like a child with her Christmas presents under the tree. I keep looking at my parcels, wondering what God will do with them. I can't leave them alone. 

At other times, I don't get around to wrapping my problems up for God. I leave them sitting around the lounge of my mind, wrapping paper in a pile, unused. I trip over the unwrapped problems, stubbing my toe on them, or worse. Life gets uncontrollable, with unwrapped problems littering my head, making life difficult. I may even spend time with God, telling him about my problems but I keep them firmly in my hands. I don't leave them with Him, at the foot of the cross. I walk away from my time with Him, parcels of problems still firmly in my arms.

I find it so hard to leave my problems with God. But I want to change. God is speaking to me about resting in Him. He wants me to allow Him to take my burdens. He longs to take my burdens. I know I have a long way to go in this but I am on the way. I won't give up. I will keep going to God,  brown paper packages in my arms and I will leave them at the foot of the cross even if I have to leave the same package many times, re-wrapped many times. They say practise makes perfect! 

What about you? Are you able to leave your brown paper packages of problems at the foot of the cross?  

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Being Loved

First published on my regular spot on More Than Writers, the blog of the Association of Christian Writers, on 16th March 2016

I used to be desperate to be married, but to this day I remain single. Kind-hearted people would tell me 'God loves you'. They wanted me to know I was loved beyond measure by the God of the universe. My reaction was to think 'but He has to love me, He is God'. I wanted someone to choose to love me. I didn't see God's love as a choice somehow.

I wanted someone to choose to love me with all my heart. I instinctively knew it was not good to refuse the love of God 'because He has to love you'. I could never work out why I thought like that though. Why did I think a man would be better than God?

Today it came to me. I wanted any love I received to be because of me. I wanted to have earned the love I received by who I was. I was living a salvation by works, even though outwardly I professed a salvation by faith. I wanted to find a man who would love me because I had earned his love. I wanted to control who loved me and how deeply they loved me by my good behaviour. It was all about me being in control of another person's love - even when that other person is God.

I have learned now to simply accept God's love and it took a major crisis of faith for me to learn this (you can read more about this time of my life in my book He Never Let Go). I now see His love is better. It is better exactly because it doesn't depend on me. I don't have to earn it. I am loved no matter what I do. It depends on Him. It depends on the amazing grace of Father God in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ who died for us. He is Love. He cannot help but love me as He is love. 

I now see there is such freedom in this, such grace. I am loved and it doesn't depend on my earning it. Now I have learned to surrender more to the love of God it has led to the most wonderful by product. In my surrender to His love I have found freedom from food addiction (to read more about my freedom from food addiction read my book Being Known). That freedom tastes so good! Praise God.

So if you read this and you find yourself still wishing to find someone who will choose to love you, if you think that God's love is not enough because He has to love you, I want to ask you a question. Try to answer it as honestly as you can. Are you trying to earn love? Are you wanting to be in control of who loves you and who doesn't by how you behave? True love is not earned. It is given freely. If it has to be earned it is not true love. True love depends on the giver of the love not on the receiver of it. 

My prayer today is that you will learn to yield completely to the love that God has to offer. It is the way to true freedom.